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History of Moses.
f on the stock of Mofes, and the legal dispensation, cion from a nobler root; which has swallowed up ? parent tree, has filled the earth with its branches, feeding the nations to this day with its fruit, and. likely to maintain its place till all the gracious pures of Heaven are accomplished. “It is the Lord's ng, and it is marvellous in our eyes.” “When
world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God the foolithness of preaching, to save them that bee.” The next Lecture will, by divine favour, exit the institution and celebration of the first pasfo, with the event which gave occasion to it. May o bless what has been spoken, To Him be glory honour forever and eyer,
:: LECTURE VII.
EXODUS xii. 1-3. And the Lord spake unto Mofes and Aaron in the land of
Egypt, saying, Inis month shall be unto you the begin. ning of months ; it shall be the first month of the year to you. Speak unto all the congregation of frael, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them Every man a lamb, according to the house of their fa.
thers, a lamb for an house, In the history of all nations, there are eras and events of peculiar importance, which extend their influence to future ages and generations, and are fondly commemorated by latest posterity. Hence, every day of the reyolving year becomes, in its course, to one people or another, the anniversary of something memorable which befel their forefathers, and is remembered by their sons with triumph or with sorrow. Most of the religious observances which have obtained in the world, when traced up to their source, are found to originate in providential dispensations; and history thereby becomes the best interpreter of cultoms and manners. It is a most amusing employment, to observe the operation and progress of the human mind in this respect ; and to consider how variously different men, and at different periods, have contrived to transmit to their children the memory of similar achievements, successes, or disasters. A great stone set up on end, a heap of stones, a mound of earth,
and the like, were, in the earlier, ruder, fimpler state of the world, the monuments of victory; and to dance around them with fongs, on an appointed day, was the rustic commemoration of their rude and simple pofterity. The triumphs and the death of heroes came, in process of time, to be remembered with conviviality and mirth, or with plaintive strains and folemn dirges. The hoary bard varied and enlivened the feast, by adapting to his rough voice or rougher harp the uncouth rhymes which he himself had composed, in praise of departed gallantry and virtue. As arts were invented and improved, the wise, the brave and the good were preserved from oblivion by monuments more elegant, more intelligible, and more lasting. A more correct style of poetry, and a sweeter melody were cultivated. Sculpture and painting conveyed to children's children an exact representation of the limbs and lineaments of the venerable men who adorned, who instructed, who saved their country. And thus, though dead, they continued to live and act in the animated canvass, in the breathing brass, or the speaking marble. At length, the pen of the historian took up the cause of merit, and diffused over the whole globe, and handed down to the very end of time the knowledge of the persons and of the actions which should never die.
We are this evening to bestow our attention upon an institution altogether of divine appointment, intended to record an event of fingular importance to the nation immediately affected by it, and which, according to its intention and in its consequences, has involved a great part of mankind.
Moses and Aaron having, as the instruments in the hand of Providence, chaitiled Egypt with nine fucceffive and severe plagues, infiicted in the view of procuring Ifrael's release, are at length dismissed by the unrelenting tyrant, with a threatening of certain death, should they cver again presume to come into his presence. Mofes takes himn at his word, and bids
o od were prendre intelligable, and a sweeter
d the like, were, in the earlier, ruder, simpler state the world, the monuments of victory; and to dance pund then with songs, on an appointed day, was e rustic commemoration of their rude and simple Iterity. The triumphs and the death of heroes ne, in process of time, to be remembered with con iality and mirth, or with plaintive strains and foln dirges. The hoary bard varied and enlivened : feast, by adapting to his rough voice or rougher 'p the uncouth rhymes which he himself had comed, in praise of departed gallantry and virtue. As ; were invented and improved, the wise, the brave I the good were preserved from oblivion by mon- ; ents more elegant, more intelligable, and more last1 A more correct style of poetry, and a sweeter. ody were cultivated. Sculpture and painting veyed to children's children an exact representa1 of the limbs and lineaments of the venerable men > adorned, who instructed, who faved their coun
And thus, though dead, they continued to live act in the animated canvass, in the breathing; s, or the speaking marble. At length, the pen of i historian took up the cause of merit, and diffused - the whole globe, and handed down to the very of time the knowledge of the persons and of the ons which should never die 'ü are this evening to bestow our attention upon nflitution altogether of divine appointment, inad to record an event of fingular importance to zation immediately affected by it, and which, al2 to its intention and in its consequences, has led a great part of mankind. cies and Aaron having, as the instruments in the
of Providence, chaitiled Egypt with nine fuccel10 fevere plagues, infiicted in the view of pros Trael's release, are at length dismissed by the anting tyrant, with a threatening of certain , flould they ever again presume to come into elence. Mofes takes him at bis word, and bids
him a folemn, a long, and everlasting farewell. When men have finally banished from them their advisers and monitors, and when God 'has ceased to be a reproyer to them, their destruction cannot be very diftant. Better it is to have the law to alarm, to threaten and to chastise us, than to have it in anger altogether withdrawn. Better is a conscience that disturbs and vexes than a conscience laid fast asleep, than a conscience st seared as with a hot iron."
What folemn preparation is made for the tenth and last awful plague of Egypt! God is about to reckon with Pharaoh and his subjects, for the blood of the Ifraelitish male children, doomed from the womb to death, by his cruel edict. His eye pitied not nor Ipared the anguish of thousands of wretched mothers, bereaved of their children the instant they were born; and a righteous God pities, fpares him not, in the day of visitation.
The circumstances attending this tremendous calamity are strikingly calculated to excite horror. First, God himself is the immediate author of it. Hitherto He had plagued Egypt by means and instru. ments"; " Stretch out thy hand :” “ Say unto Aaron, Stretch forth thy hand with thy rod.” But now it is, "I will go out into the midst of Egypt." " And it came to pass that at midnight the LORD fmote all the first-born in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne, unto the first-born of the captive that was in the dungeon, and all the first-born of cattle.” As mercies coming immediately from the hand of our heavenly Father are sweeter and better than those which are communicated through the channel of the Creature; fo judg. ments, issuing directly from the stores of divine wrath, are more terrible and overwhelming. The sword of an invading foe is a dreadful thing, but infinitely morc dreadful is the sword of a destroying angel, or the uplifted land of God himself.
Secondly, The nature and quality of the calamity greatly increase the weight of it. It is a wound there, where the heart is most susceptible of pain ; an evil which undermines hope ; hope, our refuge and our remedy under other evils. The return of another favourable season, may repair the wastes and compenfate the scarcity of that which preceded it. A body emaciated or ulcerated all over, may recover strength, and be restored to soundness; and there is hope that the light of the sun may return, even after a thick darkness of three days. But what kindness of nature, what happy concurrence of circumstances, can re-animate the breathless clay, can restore an only fon, a first born, stricken with death?
The univerfality of this destruction is a third horrid aggravation of its woe. It fell with equal severity on all ranks and conditions ; on the prince and the peasant; on the master and the slave. From every house the voice of misery bursts forth. No one is so much at leisure from his own distress as to pity, soothe or relieve that of his wretched neighbour,
Fourthly, The blow was struck at the awful midnight hour, when every object assumes a more sable hue; when fear, aided by darkness, magnifies to a gigantic fize, and clothes in a more hideous shape the real and fantastical, the feen and the unseen disturbers of filence and repose. To be prematurely awakened out of sleep by the dying groans of a friend suddenly smitten, to be presented with the ghastly image of death in a darling object lately seen and enjoyed in perfect health, to be forced to the acknowledge ment of the great and holy Lord God, by fuch an awful demonstration of his presence and power! what tem terror and astonishment could equal this?
a micorwin nimated dil. The keen reflection that all this accumulated distress might have been preyented, was another cruel ingredient in the embittered cup. How would they now accuse their desperate madness, in provoking a power, which had so often and so forcibly warned
econdly, The nature and quality of the calamity atly increase the weight of it. It is a wound there, re the heart is most susceptible of pain ; an evil ch undermines hope; hope, our refuge and our edy under other evils. The return of another urable season, may repair the wastes and comate the scarcity of that which preceded it. A 1 emaciated or ulcerated all over, may recover gth, and be restored to soundness; and there is
that the light of the fun may return, even after ck darkness of three days. But what kindness lture, what happy concurrence of circumstances, e-animate the breathless clay, can restore an only a firit born, stricken with death? e universality of this destruction is a third hor. sgravation of its woe. It fell with equal severity | ranks and conditions ; on the prince and the it; on the master and the slave. From every the voice of misery burits forth. No one is so
at leisure from his own distress as to pity; : or relieve that of his wretched neighbour, irthly, The blow was ftruck at the awful midhour, when every object assumes a more sable when fear, aided by darkness, magnifies to a gi
fize, and clothes in a more hideous shape the id fantastical, the feen and the unseen disturbfilence and repofe. To be prematurely awak. ut of sleep by the dying groans of a friend sudinitten, to be presented with the ghastly image h in a darling object lately seen and enjoyed cct health, to be forced to the acknowledg. f the great and holy Lord God, by fuch an awzonstration of his presence and power! what nd astonishment could equal this? keen reflection that all this accumulated dilght have been prevented, was another cruel nt in the embittered cup. How would they cuse their desperate madness, in provoking a
i which had so often and fo forcibly warned
them of their danger ? If Pharaoh were not past feeling, how dreadful must have been the pangs which he felt, while he reflected, that after attempting to destroy a hapless, helpless race of strangers, who lay at his mercy, by the most unheard-of cruelty and oppression, he had now ruined his own country, by an obstinate perseverance in folly and impiety; that he had become the curse and the punishment of a nation, of which he was bound by his office to be the father and protector; and that his own hopes were now blasted in their fairest, most flattering object, the heir of his throne and empire, because he regarded not the rights of humanity and mercy in the treatment of his vassals.
Finally, If their anguish admitted of a ftill higher aggravation, the distinction from first to last made between them and Ifrael, the blessed exemption which the oppressed Hebrews had enjoyed from all these calantities, especially from this last death, must have been peculiarly mortifying and afflictive. " But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue, against man or beast ; that ye may know how that the LORD doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel.” This partakes of the nature of that misery which the damned endure ; who are represented as having occasional, distant and transitory glimpses of the blessedness of heaven, only for their punifhment, only to heighten the pangs of their own torments. Of the approach of their other woes, these unhappy persons had been repeatedly warned. But this, it would appear, came upon them suddenly and in a moment. They had gone to rest in security. The fhort respite which they enjoyed from suffering had stilled their apprehenfion; " surely,” said they, “the bitterness of death is paft.” Bui ah! it is only the deceitful calm which precedes the hurricane or the earthquake. Let men never dreanr of repose from the righteous judgment of God, whatever they may have already endured, till they have